It wasn’t her fault. That’s what Rose kept telling herself, but she knew she was wrong. She should have listened to what the Doctor told her. She should have done what he asked without trying to be clever and do it her own way. Now he was gone and she was alone. She was going to die along with the rest of the solar system in a ball of fire. Not a pleasant death but at least it would be quick.
The Doctor strained at the fetters which clamped him to the operating table. He could hear the hum as two Daleks glided across the lab getting things ready. He tried to turn his head but that was firmly held in place. He knew in the background somewhere was Davros preparing for the operation.
“You won’t get away with this, you know,” spat the Doctor, realising how clichéd it sounded as soon as the words left his lips. “You have no idea about Time Lord Anatomy.”
“I have not wasted a moment, Doctor. Your people have obliged me with plenty of…test subjects to practice on.”
“That’s despicable. They are prisoners of war, you can’t experiment on them…there are treaties-,”
“I don’t subscribe to a piece of paper. This is war Doctor.”
“You can’t possibly believe that this is right. This is my body and I’d like to remain in it as long as possible thank you. I’ve already had one person try and fail to take it…what makes you any different?”
“Will power, Doctor and superior Dalek technology. Once my mind is in your body…the things I can do,” Davros gurgled.
“I’ll never let you-,”
“Ah, I haven’t forgotten about your brain, your intellect that will not be wasted. Your consciousness will be transferred to a new generation of Dalek. An organic base until your intellect takes over the higher brain functions.”
“There has to be another way. Can’t we talk about this?”
Davros attached the probes to his forehead and turned to face the Time Lord.
“It is time Doctor.”
“You won’t get me out of this head that easily.”
Davros gestured to the Dalek by the control panel that activated the transfer process.
The Doctor cried out as the energy coursed through his body. The pain engulfed him as he felt himself drifting. He willed himself to stay in his own body but his essence refused to obey. When it finally reached its new resting place his mind screamed. He wanted to move, to breathe, to feel, to see but instead he was trapped inside a Dalekainium prison. The only window to the real world a small camera on the end of a stalk. He attempted to move but felt his ‘body’ swivel round until he ‘faced’ Davros. The madman’s carcass now an empty shell, and behind it was the operating table containing the Doctor’s old body. He could see that he was still alive.
“Change me back,” shouted the Doctor, surprised by the grating tone which emanated from him. “Change me back now!”
“That is highly unlikely Doctor,” replied Davros using the Time Lord’s voice. “I’m not going to give up this body.”
“You’ve forgotten, that now you are the one strapped to the operating table, aren’t you?”
“My Daleks will not let you reverse the process.”
“This casing contains weapons and shielding more powerful than the others.”
“But it is inhibited. I’m not stupid Doctor. I know what you are capable of…”
“Oh…No you underestimated me a lot,” he grated, lifting the sink plunger like arm. “I’m cleverer than any of your creatures. I don’t obey orders.” He pivoted round. “I’ve always wanted to say this. Exterminate!”
He fired at the Daleks in the room disabling them before any defence could be mounted.
“No! This is not acceptable,” shouted Davros. “You will obey me!”
“Not likely, fortunately. I’m going to go look round. Use this…advantage while I can.”
“Unlock these restraints immediately! You will obey!”
“Talk to the plunger because the sensors aren’t listening,” replied the Doctor, gliding towards the door.
Rose ducked back behind a large steel column at the sound of the doors to the lab opening. She peered round to see a jet black Dalek glide out into the corridor. It swung its eyestalk left and right as if checking the way was clear before it headed down the right hand route. Rose held the sonic screwdriver, that the Doctor had passed to her before he decided to get captured, ready to use it on the doors. She held it in front of her like a weapon as she tiptoed forward. The doors slide open without any protest and she walked in.
She was surprised to find two disabled Daleks sitting limply by a control panel but quickly spun on her heels when she heard a familiar voice.
“Help me,” cried Davros, managing to put such emotion in his voice that you had to empathise. “Help me please.”
“Doctor,” exclaimed Rose. “What happened?”
“I got,” he tried to think of how the Doctor would speak, “a little tied up, my dear.”
“Are you ok? I brought something you will be happy to see,” she held up the sonic screwdriver, then started work unlocking the restraints. “Don’t worry.”
“Hurry up,” he snapped impatiently.
“Alright, alright. I’m going as fast as I can.”
Eventually she found the correct setting and the restraints clicked undone, releasing Davros from the table.
“Thank you, my dear. I’m grateful for your assistance.”
“Are you sure you’re feeling ok?”
“Why shouldn’t I be?”
“You seem a little…different but I can’t figure out what it is.”
“It’s a new wig,” replied Davros, running his fingers through his hair. He couldn’t quite believe he had this new young-ish body. He had so many plans…so many thoughts but he mustn’t waste time the Doctor might return any moment. “Do you have the key to the blue box?”
“The TARDIS…yeah. But like you’ve never called it the blue box before. What did they do to you?”
“A little light torture, nothing I can’t handle. Now, off to the TARDIS. Quickly.”
The other Daleks thought he was one of them and that gave him an advantage…surprise. He was able to access all the databanks and knew exactly how many Daleks there were and where they were located. The Doctor glided around the base unheeded every time he came across the hated creatures he fired, without a moments thought or regret. It was only once he exterminated them all he realised what he had done. He’d enjoyed the release of all that hatred and anger that had been building up inside him for so long. But this was not Him, this was not what The Doctor stood for, this was Dalek behaviour and it frightened him. The Dalek biology was affecting his mind more that he had anticipated. He needed to get back to the lab and put his consciousness into his body again.
“We must get back to the TARDIS,” said Davros, as they moved along the corridor. He put his hand to his head momentarily as a piecing pain shot through his head. “Argh!”
“Doctor?” Rose caught him as he nearly collapsed.
As her hands connected with his arms and wais Davros felt memories burst in his mind the past, future…many futures, different realities all at once. It was confusing and frightening. He felt pain, loss and then happiness until the guilt overwhelmed him. He needed to get somewhere safe and quiet. Suddenly a Dalek came round the corner but it wasn’t your ordinary Dalek this was the one the Doctors mind had been transferred to.
“The TARDIS! Now!” yelled Davros.
“Halt!” growled the Doctor. “Rose! Wait!”
“How does it know my name?” she asked.
“No time to explain, my dear,” replied Davros, taking her hand as they ran along the corridor.
Davros could feel an instinct that was foreign to him welling up inside and till the words spilled out of his mouth.
“One more thing, whatever you do, whatever happens to me…don’t look back, don’t stop just,” he gasped, slightly out of breath from his escape from the Dalek which pursued them, “run!”
They reached the door of the TARDIS it was snuggled in a quiet corner of the space ship.
“The key girl,” he snapped. “The key. Now!”
“Alright, alright,” replied Rose, pulling the chain on which hung the key from around her neck. “Here.”
He snatched it from her hand and quickly opened the door, now all he had to do was work out how to fly the ship.
The Doctor arrived at the TARDIS moments after the doors closed. He let out a curse in his mind. He needed to get to Davros soon before any permanent damage was done.
“Open the doors! I demand you open the doors and let me in! That’s my ship!”
He rolled forward placing the sucker against the wooden panel.
“Please Rose it’s me!”
“Doctor it knows my name! It said please…Daleks don’t say please.”
“It doesn’t matter,” replied Davros struggling to make sense of the mangled, bodged controls, while his mind was being drowned in information. Every time he tried to access the residues of the Doctors knowledge it flooded his brain. There was much more to the Time Lords mind than he anticipated the volume was like the TARDIS bigger than it first appeared. The continual nattering in his ear coming from the mouth of the blond girl didn’t help his concentration.
“Doctor! Doctor, are you listening to me?”
“Kindly be silent,” he yelled, placing his hands over his ears. “Please, my dear I have…a splitting headache.”
Davros took a deep breath then held his hands just above the controls trying to focus on the appropriate knowledge.
The Doctor let out a cry of anger and despair as the TARDIS dematerialized in front of him. He needed to find a way of following them. But how? He searched the Dalek databanks for anything he could utilise. Suddenly it struck him. He knew what he had to do. This casing had the ability to temporal shift, for a Dalek the destination was random but for the Doctor with his knowledge he could follow the TARDIS.
“Initiate Temporal Shift.”
He felt the outer shell shudder as the energy built up in the generator located below where the organic component of the Dalek was housed. He focused on the distortion in time created by his TARDIS latching onto the trail it left and predicting its future destination as with a burst of energy he dematerialized. Now he knew what the TARDIS felt like.
The TARDIS thudded to a halt as it reached Firestar Station 3, an unmanned nova observation station. Davros looked up with an expression of relief. He had been concerned about where they were going to end up.
“Where are we Doctor?” asked Rose.
“I-I’m not sure, my dear,” replied Davros, looking around for the way to initiate the exterior scanner. “Why don’t you go outside and have a look for me?”
Rose pulled the door leaver and jogged through the open door. She stopped a few steps from the TARDIS and called back to him.
“It seems safe enough Doctor! Looks like some kind of space stations or ship or something…”
“Farewell, my dear,” said Davros as he shut the TARDIS doors.
“Doctor! Doctor what are you doing? This isn’t funny.”
The TARDIS then proceeded to disappear in front of her eyes just as in its place the formidable form of a Dalek appeared in its place.
Rose stumbled backwards in fear, away from the figure, glancing back she noticed a door but it was closed. As the Dalek form solidified she ran to the door and attempted to pull it open but it would not budge. The Dalek rolled forward.
“Rose. It is me,” he intoned. “Please don’t be afraid.”
“You’re who?” she said still franticly scratching at the door.
“I am the Doctor.”
“No you aren’t,” she replied, her voice shaking slightly with fear. “You’re a Dalek.”
“Where is the TARDIS?”
She stayed silent.
“Listen to me. Davros stole my body and trapped me in this…prison. I have to find him.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“I must return to my body. Davros could damage the universe irreparably if allowed to use my body.”
“How can I trust you?”
“I have just logged onto this stations computer, you now have complete access,” the Doctor could sense disruption in the timelines. He needed to follow the TARDIS before the trail went cold. He began to power up the time shift. The casing shuddered again. “I will come back for you.”
Davros held onto the console as the TARDIS rocked around as if it was trying to throw him off, like it knew he wasn’t the Doctor. He grabbed on to the handbrake yanking it causing the ship to grind to a halt. He nearly lost his balance with the final jolt of landing. He had started to become more familiar with the controls this time round and activated the scanner.
“Now, lets see what is outside. Hopefully I can get some tools and fix this…thing,” muttered Davros to himself, giving the TARDIS a good whack. “Stupid machine. You can’t get the better of me.”
Davros looked at the screen. It showed a dusty, rocky grey landscape with rolls of mist blowing across the plain. He let out a curse and hit the console again. The TARDIS made a sound like it was reacting to the action. Davros tried to do a long range scan but the ship wouldn’t comply.
The Doctor felt what could be described as nausea as he evanesced into existence on a grey, desolate planet. He activated the Dalek scanners doing a wide sweep of the barren surface. He detected the TARDIS almost instantly. The rocky terrain was not best for Dalek design but he managed to find how to use the hover option.
“Elevate,” he chanted as the tank-like shell lifted above the ground and flew towards the ship.
“I hope not,” hissed Rose under her breath.
She did not believe the Dalek’s claims and instead hoped that the Doctor would come to his senses and return to her. Although there was a niggling doubt in the back of her mind it was the way the creature had spoken. There had been softness, sympathy even in its voice. But if the Doctor wasn’t the Doctor how had he piloted the TARDIS? Surely a stranger couldn’t know how it worked even she was oblivious to most of its mysteries. Rose tried the door again this time it obeyed and opened.
“That’s better,” feeling more comfortable talking to herself out loud than letting her mind wander in the silence. “Now, let’s see what this place is…”
The Doctor situated himself in the TARDIS sensor blind-spot waiting for Davros to emerge. He had patience enough to sit there for millennia if it got him his body back. Fortunately his enemy didn’t have quite as much will power or maybe it was too much curiosity that impelled Davros to emerge. As he shut the door the Doctor glided round the corner cutting him off from a retreat back to the ship.
“How does it feel to be on the other side for a change Doctor?” snarled Davros.
“Claustrophobic. I want my body back Davros,” snapped the Doctor, raising one of his Dalek ‘arms’.
“No. You can’t have it back. It’s mine now, all mine. You can’t imagine how it feels to finally be able to walk, run even dance after so many years wasting away. I’m a new man can’t you see that?”
“You’re not new! You’re talking with a stolen voice, that is my body and if you won’t give it back I’ll take it by force!”
“I don’t think so Doctor. I rigged the machine to self-destruct its one way, one time only. You can’t change back.”
“I can and I will,” shrieked the Doctor rolling forward. “I’m not one of your creatures. I am the Doc-tor!”
“Listen to yourself you’ve already changed.”
“So have you.”
“I am not going to stand here arguing. We are both stuck as we are, accept it.”
“No,” the Doctor moved further forward raising the sucker arm, and extending it so it grabbed hold of Davros’ forehead. “I will not obey.”
Rose had soon located the CNC of the station and now the computer seemed to recognize her she had been able to ask questions. But the answers she got didn’t do anything to reassure her. This was an unmanned scientific research station. It had been set up to observe the sun and now its task was to record the super nova that would take place in less than an hour. She had no idea how to work the station and there were no escape pods. Her only hope was that the Doctor would return.
The Doctor extracted Davros’ mind from its body as he pushed his own into the body. For a moment he floated in the either until scrabbling mentally to reach his intended destination he couldn’t be dragged back now…he wouldn’t allow it. He couldn’t stand being confined in that loathed shell. His mind cried out for mercy, screamed in pain as it passed over the threshold. Finally he was still. He could breathe, move, talk and blink. The Doctor was in his old body once again. He let out a sigh of relief.
“Ah-ha! I’m back!” He rubbed his forehead. “I hope that’s not going to leave a mark.”
“You made a big mistake Doctor,” screeched Davros. “Now I’m the one on the correct end of a deadly weapon.”
“Not so fast.”
The Dalek shell began to shudder violently.
“W-w-what is happening? I-I-I d-didn’t engage the time shift.”
“That’s because I did, didn’t I, before we swapped back. Tarrah!”
He waved as Davros dematerialized. The Doctor had set the co-ordinates for an uninhabited planet on the edge of the universe where Davros wouldn’t be able to harm anyone. The time shift generator only had a limited amount of power such a long trip would use up the last of its energy. That was when it hit him like a sledgehammer he felt sick as he recalled how he had exterminated the Daleks and enjoyed it. It appalled him not that he had killed but that he had let himself go and relished the violence. That was not him. That was not what he stood for and the Doctor could not let himself forget that…ever.
Rose tentatively pressed the touch-screen bringing up a series of complicated looking menus. She wasn’t sure what it did or whether she had made things worse. Suddenly there was a heavy clunk and the large screen situated at the front of the room like a window lit up. Red and purple numbers flittered across the panel. Rose knew it meant something bad. She noticed one word though that she recognised and it made her shudder. The sun the station was orbiting had started to fall out of orbit. Unless the Doctor rescued her soon she was going to be incinerated.
Davros cautiously lifted the eyestalk and surveyed his surroundings. He activated the long range scanner but he couldn’t locate any life forms on the entire planet. He tried to engage the time shift but it fizzled into nothing. He had an overwhelming feeling of frustration. Stuck forever in the form he feared becoming, strived for so long to avoid. He screamed as only a Dalek can.
The Doctor stroked the TARDIS console while making comforting and apologetic noises.
“I’m sorry old girl…it’s really me now. Everything is back to normal. Now, let’s get going.”
He flicked a couple of switches and tried to activate the dematerialisation process but the central column wouldn’t move. It groaned instead. The Doctor’s face fell and he immediately dived underneath the console, sonic screwdriver in hand.
“What did that bully do to you?”
He franticly pried the access panel from its housing pulling out and replacing wires, chips and crystals apparently at random.
“Come on,” he yelled. “Come on work damn you! Argh! Work please…for me…I’m sorry for the cursing but you know I didn’t mean it. Will you please help me out here! I’m doing my best.”
He reached out for the toolbox discarded in a fit of enthusiasm. It was laying a few feet away lot of various alien looking tools spilling out across the floor.
“I have one last idea,” said the Doctor wagging his finger. “Now, you had better be a good little ship and put your back into it, ok?”
He lifted up an orb shaped device which began to glow.
“This is important. We need to go back to the station and collect Rose and I need the landing to be precise. This may tickle.”
The Doctor opened one of the panels on the top of the console and lowered the orb into place before shutting the panel again. There was a sound that cold almost be interpreted as a giggle from the TARDIS.
“I did warn you.”
He activated the dematerialisation process again.
“Second time lucky.”
The cooling system was at maximum power but it hardly offered any respite from the sweltering heat. Rose could feel the sweat pouring down her and her mouth was dry. There was no water and she found it hard to swallow. Anything metal was now scolding hot. The bottoms of her shoes were melting, sticking to the floor. Her breathing was laboured and shallow the atmosphere was so close. Even the electronics had begun to go haywire with the heat.
The TARDIS juddered and wined as it tumbled through the vortex. There was something wrong with the ship it seemed uneasy and unwilling to obey the Doctor’s coaxing. It was like a stroppy teenager conforming only as a last resort and with much protest. The Doctor knew that sometimes the ship knew things he didn’t and she tried to protect him but he had no idea why it wouldn’t want him to find Rose.
“Don’t be so contrary. I need to collect her before the sun goes nova,” he said simply. “There is no need to be jealous. I won’t have you being vindictive towards my companions, you know you’re the only girl for me.”
He flashed a charming smile, and grabbed hold of the console to steady himself as he adjusted the trajectory.
“That’s better!” he declared almost punching the air with his fist. “Woo!”
The sound of time and space being ripped apart echoed down the corridors until it reached her ears. With extreme effort in the oppressively hot atmosphere Rose headed toward the noise and her hope of rescue.
The TARDIS settled uncomfortably in a corner of the main corridor. The Doctor opened the door stepping out cautiously. On meeting the blistering atmosphere he let out an exclamation hoping from one foot to another.
“Ooh, hot…” he took a small portable fan from his pocket and set it to maximum, “ah, that’s better. Now…Rose!”
“Doctor! Doctor I’m here,” she called out. “Wait for me.”
Rose ran into the corridor and flung her arms round the Doctor. He gave an expression of immense surprise.
“Hello to you too,” he said extracting himself from her grip. “I think you are going to need a cold shower.”
Suddenly she slapped him round the face.
“What was that for? Has the heat gone to your head? I wasn’t implying you smelt or anything.”
“You left me behind! You shoved me out the TARDIS and abandoned me!”
“Well, if you’re going to use violence…” he paused as she gave him a cautionary look. “I think we should go somewhere cooler, don’t you?”
“Alright, but you’ve got a lot of explaining to do.”
“Now, isn’t that better,” said the Doctor once the TARDIS was in full flight.
He handed Rose a glass of water. She wasn’t quite sure where it had come from but she was so parched she didn’t care. Rose just gulped down the refreshing liquid in one go.
“Ahhh,” she let out a sigh of satisfaction. “So much better.”
“Why did you leave me behind?”
“Oh, we’re back to that again are we,” replied the Doctor, looking away as if he wasn’t interested.
“Did I do something wrong? Is it because I rescued you? Some kind of bloke-ish pride stopping you from accepting help from a girl?”
“It’s not that at all,” he snapped. “The person you released was Davros…the Dalek Emperor.”
“Don’t be stupid.”
“If that’s true how do I know you are you?”
“My winning smile and sparkling personality? They say the eyes are the window to the soul,” he faced her, looking her straight in the eye. “Do I look evil?”
Rose saw the twinkle in his eyes and shook her head.
“It’s you in there…that’s for sure. But which you is a different matter.”
“You’re the Doctor, but you aren’t my Doctor. There’s something different about you, something…”
“Good I hope.”
He smiled reassuringly.
“So do I.”
“Onwards and upwards then,” said the Doctor, feeling less sure about himself than his companion was of him. “Once more into the breech and so on, and so forth.”